No. 23 Ohio State clobbered Penn State, 75-55, to notch its fifth win in six games and rally back and keep pace in the Big Ten title race.
"Hopefully we're doing something right," coach Thad Matta said after the game.
|NO. 23 OHIO STATE||37||38||75|
The Buckeyes (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten), which led by as many as 21 points Wednesday evening at the Schottenstein Center, used smothering defense and the transition game to enervate the Nittany Lions, which shot 32 percent and turned the ball over 15 times.
"We know the season's coming down to an end," Thompson said. "It's time for the players to play."
Ohio State outscored Penn State in fast break points (15-4), points off turnovers (19-7) and points in the paint (28-18).
Sam Thompson, the senior forward and human dunk machine, scored a career-high of 22 points and D’Angelo Russell, the star freshman guard who has captured national attention with his electrifying play, added 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
|OHIO STATE||STAT||PENN STATE|
|24-54 (44.4)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||19-59 (32.2)|
|6-16 (37.5)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||6-17 (35.3)|
|21-31 (67.7)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||11-18 (61.1)|
Behind Thompson, who scored 13 points and a pair of 3-pointers in the first half, the Buckeyes raced out to a 12-0 lead against Penn State and its anemic offense.
Equally damning for the Nittany Lions was the inactivity of its best player, D.J. Newbill, who guided them in their sweep of Ohio State last season. He scored 16 points and was rendered ineffective for most of the night.
"They made D.J. Newbill's life very uncomfortable tonight," said Pat Chambers, the Penn State coach.
Thompson added the Buckeyes wanted to make sure he "saw five Ohio State defenders" every time he touched the ball.
With a 37-23 lead at intermission, the Buckeyes were a sloppier team in the second half. Yet the cushion they built in the first half was too great for the Nittany Lions to seriously threaten.
Ohio State plays Michigan State on Saturday afternoon at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
Postgame Notes (compiled by OSU's communications staff)
- Ohio State leads the all-time series with Penn State, 30-14.
- The Buckeyes are 16-4 in Columbus and 8-1 in Value City Arena vs. the Nittany Lions.
- As a ranked team, Ohio State is 17-4 in the series and 13-2 under Matta’s direction.
- The Buckeyes held the Nittany Lions to 19 field goals, the seventh time this season Ohio State has held its opponent to under 20 field goals.
- The Buckeyes scored 75 points vs. the Nittany Lions and are 17-1 this season when recording more than 70 points.
- The Buckeyes are 18-0 when leading at the half this season. Ohio State led Penn State, 37-23, at halftime.
- The Buckeyes outrebounded the Nittany Lions, 40-38. When outrebounding their opponent, Ohio State is 15-0.
- Ohio State outscored Penn State 15-4 in fast break points and 30-20 in the paint.
- The Buckeyes went 21-31 (.667) from the free-throw line.
- Ohio State has the most home wins nationally with a 104-9 (.920) record since the 2009-10 season.
- The Buckeyes own an overall record of 779-689 against current league members.
- Thad Matta is 294-89 during his career at Ohio State and 396-120 overall as a head coach.
- Matta is 154-67 overall vs. Big Ten opponents, including a mark of 150-63 while coaching the Buckeyes.
- The Buckeyes are 52-25 during February in the Matta era.
- Matta is 18-2 vs. the Nittany Lions as head coach of the Buckeyes.
- D'Angelo Russell has scored 486 points this season, posting double figures 24 of 25 games this season.
- Russell went 8-10 from the free-throw line, tying his career-high for free throws made in a game.
- With seven assists vs. the Nittany Lions, he has totaled 137 helpers this season.